Monday, June 19, 2017

New Work In Progress

I've been at this picture for a while. It's a kind of update or snapshot of my progress as an artist in the last 20 years. It's called "Chiaroscuro 2.0". Now the word "chiaroscuro" comes from the Renaissance painters who used light and dark to create a dramatic effect when rendering three-dimensional forms. Leonardo daVinci and Rembrandt van Rijn are known for developing the technique. When it's done right, the results are stunning.

My attempt began 20 years ago with a pen and ink rendering based on some really great photography in a Victoria's Secret catalog. Now, some may scoff, but I should note here that beyond the obviously gorgeous women and the clothes, the photography in these catalogs is quite exquisite. One could argue that Russell James (no relation to LeBron) has a pretty sweet gig.

Anyway, my attempt in 1997 won Honorable Mention in a town art show up here in New England. Not too shabby considering that I was just figuring out how light and dark contrasts worked and how to render them correctly. Twenty years later, I'm still intrigued by it and I wanted to do another version of the piece, but this time in colored pencil. Herewith, I present to you, the original, and the newer piece which, at this moment is a work in progress.


 The original, done in 1997 and, below, the update for 2017 work in progress.

As you can see in this last image, it really begins to take on a kind of life, a substance if you will, which is exciting for me. Sometimes, prior to that moment, I have no idea whether the damned thing is even going to work. Here, it begins to. Obviously, it needs more to get the full effect, but we're well on the way at last. Check back for more updates as this gets closer to completion.

More Later

Friday, June 2, 2017

P.S. Re: Chris Cornell

Just a note to add to the story of Chris Cornell's still bewildering suicide: according to his wife Vicky Karayiannis, Cornell spoke to her after his show in Detroit and she noticed that his speech was slurred, so she asked that one of his crew check on him. He said that he may have taken a bit more Ativan, which is an anti-anxiety medication, than he should have. One of the side effects of the drug is suicidal thoughts. Ativan reportedly is taken by some recovering addicts.

Chris Cornell had been an addict but was in recovery.

Everyone around him said he was fine, upbeat, and looking forward to more of life, more of touring, more of his family, so the suddenness of his passing is confusing to say the least. That he committed suicide is even more confusing, and only adds to the grief his wife and family, as well as all who knew him are feeling. Bad enough that he's gone. Worse that the circumstances surrounding his death are unresolved. Adding to this is the fact that the City of Detroit Police Dept.  is considering this an "open investigation" and hasn't released any records yet.

Cornell's remains were cremated on May 23rd.
He is gone. Now we can only remember.

More Later

Thursday, June 1, 2017

And Now Chris Cornell Is Dead!

Chris Cornell, former (hellified!) lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave died May 17th in Michigan after playing a sold out show as part of the reunited Soundgarden's tour. Early confirmed reports say that he committed suicide by hanging himself in the bathroom of his hotel. His wife was shocked and grieved by his sudden departure, as were his many fans who were looking forward to seeing him perform. He had a full slate of appearances scheduled. Cornell was only 52.

He was in Worcester, MA last summer to do a show at the Hanover Theater. I never got to see him. Another flame of creative passion has been snuffed out for reasons that I cannot, and we cannot begin to imagine. I will be sad if the cause was related to addiction. Or depression. Sad because we still don't understand these things. Sad because it continues to afflict all of us.

Nothing else to say here. So I leave you with his music and with sadness that he cannot bring us more joy through his distinctive gift.

Chris Cornell
Born July 20th, 1964
Died May 17th, 2017

Rest In Peace
We were not ready for you to leave us.

Also, in other news, Gregg Allman died last week on May 27th. He was considered one of the pioneers of what has been called "Southern Rock". He was also the co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band. He was 69.

Rest in Peace.

More Later